The women’s teams of South Africa and Canada played out to a tame 1-1 draw in the final match of the SPAR Cup Tri-Nations series played at the Randburg Hockey Stadium.
Both teams were average throughout the match, but neither seemed to gain an ascendancy at any point in the game. There were some great saves, though, from Canadian goalkeeper-captain Sarah Forbes, which earned her the player of the match award, and it was her side who went ahead in the first half.
On 32 minutes, Canada won a penalty corner and after some frantic passing in the circle, Katie Rushton managed to deflect home the goal. SPAR South Africa then won a penalty corner two minutes later, but Cindy Brown had a brain freeze and moved the ball her left with nobody waiting on the end of her pass.
The teams scrapped around in midfield in the second half for some time before South Africa won another penalty corner. This time SA vice-captain Kate Hector tried out her drag-flicking, but she sent it slightly over the bar.
Rushton then picked up a yellow card for a foul on South Africa's Vidette Ryan in the 48th minute, reducing Canada to 10 players.
South Africa used the advantage to good effect and worked through the midfield before Tarryn Bright set up player of the series Kathleen Taylor in the 54th minute to equalize. South Africa won another penalty corner in the 67th minute, but Hector reverse-sticked it over the bar.
For SA coach Jenny King, the match was a frustrating one again as her troops failed to carry out her instructions.
"I thought it was a pretty poor performance," said King, "We didn't stick to the game plan and the players did very little of what we (the coaches) asked of them."
That result, though, ensured South Africa finish top of the log on 10 points with Canada in second on four points and Russia on three. The series was an opportunity for King to test her strategies ahead of the Olympics Games taking place in Beijing this year and while the players struggled with some of the game plans this week, the coach is happy with where they are for now.
"We are on track, but we have to realistic because this was not our full-strength side as we had four players out," she explained, "We want to and have to be at full-strength at the Olympics and that will make a huge difference, but for now we coped well with the players we had."
South Africa's have a long break before their next series in June where they will play Ireland in two Tests before moving on to a four-nations series in Rotterdam against Great Britain, India and Netherlands.
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